A Few Days in Keswick

What a wonderful few days away we have had this week, as on Tuesday we made our way to Keswick for a little break. M’s middle sister turned 50 on the 23rd and all the family were invited to stay with her and her husband for a few days. Lovely.

M actually has 2 sisters, both with partners and is lucky enough to still have his mum & dad. We all stayed in a self-catering property called Fernbank House, which is part of a quad of properties all owned by the same person in and around Keswick. M’s sister booked it because we had stayed in the sister property River Cottage a couple of years ago and it was just lovely.

We arrived around lunchtime and after a buffet lunch, we all decided to go and play crazy golf in Hope Park as M had cunningly devised a scoring system. The weather, it had to be said was HOT and much MUCH hotter than expected. I actually burnt my arm it was so hot!!

It’s fair to say the weather in the Lakes was better than expected #lovethelakes #lakedistrict #sunburn

A post shared by Gill Lysons ? (@gilliblogs) on

After the Crazy Golf we went home and as this was the actual day of M’s sister’s birthday, her husband had arranged for an outside caterer to come and make us Dinner. ?

The menu consisted of:

Trout with Asparagus & potato salad

Saddle of Lamb with Dauphinoise Potatoes & seasonal vegetable


Profiteroles with lemon cream and white chocolate curls

Every single bit of food was delicious and was made by Laura in the Lakes. She has a coffee shop/cafe in the centre of Keswick, a cake making business as well as doing outside catering.

Laura did know in advance that I was lactose intolerant, so as a delicious alternative she did new potatoes for me with my main (Dauphinoise contains cream)  and for dessert she gave me a lemon and blueberry cake with strawberries, which was divine!!! I am only sorry I don’t have pictures to show you, I was too busy shoving it in my face!!!

M’s mum also had a birthday cake made for M’s sis as you can tell, she loves travelling and is going to see the gorillas (in the wild) for her main birthday present.

On our second day, we all did our own thing in the early part of the day and M and I went off to Keswick for a wander round and we ended up in Fitz park just enjoying the warm weather and the amazing feeling of having nothing to do. But we had to make sure we were back at the house in plenty of time, as we were booked in to Armathwaite Hall again for afternoon Tea at 3pm. It was a slightly larger affair this time, with their being 8 of us and full disclosure, we got off to a bumpy start as the sandwiches they brought me were ones I didn’t like (egg mayo, tuna & sweetcorn & something indeterminable) so I had to wait for quite a while to get anything to eat. Then they told me the cakes were dairy free, but I wasn’t convinced and sure enough I was poorly at the end of the meal. ?

However, the staff were wonderful and the afternoon was a lovely and honestly for around £25 per person, I don’t think you can get better.

In the evening we spent some time just hanging out and the boys even went for fish & chips. It’s funny isn’t it, before they went no-one was hungry, at the mention of chips, 6/8 hands went up to put their chippy order in!!! Could we be more English?!

I had also done a quiz for everyone in the evening and it was won by M’s eldest sister, who was double chuffed. Competitive should have been her middle name.

We finished our trip with another walk to Whinlatter Forest where  the first mission of the day was to find a missing diary. M’s mum lives by her diary – she asks for one every Christmas with an attached pen and her (and our) whole life is written in it. So you can imagine how mortified she was on Wednesday night when she couldn’t find it. We turned the house upside down, but no luck.

However, when we got to Whinlatter we asked at the desk to see if it had seen it (MIL had been there the day before) and sure enough some kind soul had handed it in. THRILLED!!!

Anyway… the last time we were at Whinlatter we did the Red route and on Thursday we did the Blue route, both marked as moderate, both very strenuous to me. However it was idyllic in the sunshine, no matter how hard the very steep and windy uphills were at the end, and we even had a mini photo shoot half way round!!!

We set off for home about 2ish with a smile on our faces and just thrilled that M’s sister and her husband invited us to spend some time with them for J’s birthday. M is so lucky to have such a kind and caring family. Also if you ever have a chance to visit the Lake District, then do. It’s my favourite place in the whole world as it’s a beautiful as it is green and exfoliates my brain every single time we visit.

G x

Perfect Few Days

So let me just say, if you aren’t into blogs from people telling you what a wonderful time they have had, then I would deffo skip this blog. BUT.. if not strap yourself in!!

This post is entitled “Perfect Few Days” as this is exactly what M and I have just had. Firstly, it was his birthday on Thursday and yes, if your maths is any good, then you will have worked out that he does indeed have a Star Wars Birthday, as in “May the 4th be with you!” Which was reflected in some of his birthday wrapping..

But first things first, as the FIRST thing we did for his birthday is presents in bed. This is something that we have done since almost day 1 and it’s a tradition I particularly love. After pressies, we ventured to ChouxChouxbedo for breakfast and I think it’s fair to see M was very happy with the situation!

After breakfast we had originally planned to go to Pennington Flash for a walk and then to Bents, but in the end we sacked off the walk and just ventured to Bents for a bit of (expensive) food shopping and present buying for M’s mum, whose birthday it actually is TODAY!

Once home we were chilling out when we had a surprise visit from our brother-in-law and our lovely nieces. They stayed for a while and the girls and I made chocolate covered strawberries and I put the Scouse on to cook. I have a whole recipe for Scouse, which is basically lamb stew, but that’s another post I still have to write. ?

Once the girls had gone, we got ready and Michael’s family came, namely his mum & dad, 2 sisters and their partners. We ate the scouse and a birthday cake made by m’s amazing mum. M is very lucky to have such a lovely family.

Then on Saturday, we had a mini lie-in and then set off for Keswick in the Lake District, where we were booked in to the Best Western Castle Plus Inn. It took us about 2 hours to get there and we have to say we were pleasantly surprised on arrival.

Friendly welcome, lovely staff, nice hotel, good start. Full disclosure, our room was a little small as it was crammed with too much furniture which meant we didn’t have too much room to manoeuvre. However, we didn’t stay too long initially as I had booked afternoon tea for M and I at Armathwaite Hall. AH is where M and I stayed on Honeymoon and we hadn’t been back, so we were REALLY excited to see if it had changed at all.

On arrival the staff showed us to our reserved table in the window, overlooking the lake ? . As I have blogged before, I am lactose intolerant and I even though I mentioned it when I booked, I was  little worried about what food might arrive. I needn’t have been, see pics below.

It was all GORGEOUS and I know some of you might think that plain ham sandwiches are boring, but honestly the ham was divine and who doesn’t love ham butties?!

After our feast, we decided to go for a walk in the grounds of the hall, which overlooks Bassenthwaite Lake. We actually got married in February, so on our last trip, we tried to get down to the lake, but were foiled half way as it was too muddy and wet. But this time, it was sunny and we wended our way down the path, across the bridge and eventually the foliage cleared and the lake was resplendent in front of us. Wow.

Heaven is a Place on Earth

We stayed at the lakeside for a little while, talking and throwing stones in the water, the sun was shining on us and I really felt like I wanted to capture that moment and keep it forever. I felt so lucky, almost emotional and if ever I feel stressed and want to think of a happy place, that hour will play on a loop. ?

Once back at the hotel we chilled out for a while (M fell FAST asleep) and then in the evening, we kept it low key and just went down to the bar for a lovely meal of chicken fajita (me) and corned beef hash cakes with poached egg (him).

For day 2 of our mini-break we decided to go to Whinlatter Forest, which was about 10ish miles away from our hotel here:

Parking was easy as there is a visitors centre, loos and cafe along with a decent sized car park. After a slightly dodgy start (we didn’t see the wayfinding signs) we decided to do the aptly named Two Gills trail, which is described as “moderate”. I supposed it depends on fitness levels and your preconceived idea of moderate, but I found parts of this walk quite challenging as there was quite a lot of uphill walking.

Massive elevation gain!

So even though for the uphills I had a face like thunder whilst I was puffing and blowing, I did really enjoy being in the outdoors and the views of the forest at the top were stunning. We will be back.

So overall we really have had a perfect few days and so glad I got to share it with you. This type of post is one of the reasons that I got into blogging, because it holds my memories tight. Thanks for reading too if you got this far. ???

G x

p.s. all photos in this posts are taken with either an iPhone 7 or iPhone7+ (I left my Canon G7x at home this trip)

2 years gone

Today marks 2 years since my Mum died. My lovely mum. Margaret. She was taken from us, aged 68 after a horrific year-long battle with cancer. I more or less took up blogging again when she was ill, some of which you can read here: >>2015<<

The last 3 years (1 year hellish treatment & 2 years grieving) have been very hard, but thankfully time has done its thing and after some grief counselling at the end of 2016, I do feel much more able to deal with her death and life with no mum. It’s not easy and I do feel as though her death changed me forever, but I can handle it now, well about 90%.

But mostly I am going to take today to think about mum, cry if I need to and just remember the happy times that we had. I definitely won’t remember the times she used to come around my house and point out dishes I hadn’t done, or windows I hadn’t cleaned. But of course I inevitably I will. Either way though, even though today is the anniversary of her death, I will remember her life and the many wonderful bingo games she played, rugby matches she watched and the way she loved my nieces. Gone far too soon.

Cancer is an utter bastard and I hope beyond hope that we find a cure soon.

G x

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter everyone! Hope you are having a lovely relaxing day! Today we had plans to go out to Haigh Woodland Park, but unluckily we were thwarted by the weather. So much rain! But we aren’t too downcast, we might go tomorrow if it clears up.

Instead, I had a nourishing long lie in M is currently watching Liverpool play West Brom.. could be worse.  This evening we have had no less than two invitations to go out for tea, but as we can only be in one place at once, we are going up to Widnes to spend time with M’s family. ?

This might be the first ever time I won’t have an Easter Egg, but again, this doesn’t bother me too much, as I have eaten my fair share of eggs over the years. If anything Easter just means a “free” break from work and 4 days with M, which is the best thing ever.

So Happy Easter to anyone who passes by my blog, hope you are having a fab time.


G x

Gift ideas for Mother’s Day

I work in an office with a few young dad’s and after listening to their conversations last week it seems that a few of them had been caught out on their first Mother’s Day. What I mean exactly, is that the first Mother’s Day they encountered after their very first baby was born  –  was a near total disaster!

It turns out that both my colleagues either forgot it was Mother’s Day or it never occurred to them that they would have to get a present for their partner! Oh how wrong they were.

One of my colleagues has particularly learned his lesson from the first year as he was canvassing our office for ideas and getting his preparation in early. Good man – 10 points to him. So I started to think – I am pretty good at ideas for presents and so I thought I would share 5 that I came up with:

Afternoon Tea

I really don’t think you can go wrong with a lovely afternoon tea! There are so many places that offer afternoon tea these days that they aren’t limited to country house hotels. In fact our lovely local cafe ChouxChouxbedo offers a lovely one as well as Bents Garden and Home. They usually cost somewhere between £15-£30 per person and they are a real indulgence a fab way to spend an afternoon.

Afternoon Tea at The Grosvenor in Chester. (for M’s birthday)

Spa Day

So, I have to be honest and say that I bloody LOVE a Spa day. You can find them a dedicated Spa retreat or within a Spa Hotel. These are a little more expensive as they include a treatment of some sort (usually something like a facial or massage) but they can include a jacuzzi AND a swim AND a fluffy bath robe AND even a champagne lunch!  A spa day can cost anything from £40-£100 per person.

A Lie in

So don’t underestimate this one. Most new mums, or let’s face it, mum’s of any kind have LONG forgotten what a lie in it. So why not give them one? Get up early and take the baby/child/dog/toys etc etc out and about and let the mum in your house have a long, luxurious lie in. Even if she wakes up early, she can just stay in bed with her book, brew and whatever she likes really and not have to do anything. I think some mum’s would argue, that this is what they crave more than anything.

A Hobby Gift

So this one is a little harder to be specific about as there are SO many possibilities! However, some mum’s have told me that they LOVE being a mum, but sometimes it’s easy to forget who THEY are besides being a mum. Most people have a hobby or something that they are interested in, even if their main interest is a good old box set. But I am sure there is something that you could get the mum in your life that would be just for her. Just for her hobby. And if her hobby is a good box set, buy her one, get her an iTunes voucher, If she has always wanted to learn the guitar, buy her a lesson.

Although a slight word of warning, my dad once bought my mum 3 dusters in a pack as they were only a £1. Cleaning is not a hobby and my mum threw them right back at him.


I know, I know, this is a cliché beyond belief, but it’s a cliché for a reason. I think for Mother’s Day a piece of delicate jewellery can be a beautiful way to cherish a mum. Don’t get me wrong, I have NEVER been a fan of the “mum” rings, but a lovely pair of earrings or a locket can really be beautiful.

It’s a NO from me.

 So that’s my 5 idea for Mother’s Day presents… would love to hear if you have anything amazing that you have either received or given.

G x